Kone Foundation’s activities


Philantrophy: Visions and energy for change

Executive Director Anna, Head of Research Affairs Kalle, Head of Administration Hilkka and Communications Coordinator Laura attended the “Philanthropy: Visions and energy for change” seminar organised by the European Foundation Center (EFC) in Milan at the end of May.

One of the subjects that was highlighted in the talks was the responsibility of foundations as ethical investors. There was also discussion on the challenges faced by foundations in the changing world of communications. Read Laura’s blog post about the subject: Content is (still) the king

Anna: “The most memorable parts were the discussion sections, such as the “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” session, and the programme organised by the Next Gen group. In the first-mentioned, we got into small groups and came up with examples of things that participating foundations had borrowed from one another: ideas, expertise, practices, information. The discussion continued with statements given by the programme section organisers that we had to alternately defend and then oppose in small groups. In a short amount of time we were able to have discussions, even deep ones, on subjects such as why cooperation with other organisations is a good thing and the difficulties with cooperation.

It was interesting to hear about the “Theory of the Foundation” project by the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. It was also very rewarding to hear about the “Shape the Future. The Future of Foundations” study commissioned by the Robert Bosch Stiftung that was also presented in Milan. This study was completed last year and considered the future of foundations. In the opening and closing seminars at the three-day conference we heard talks by very inspiring and skilled speakers, which included the visions of Kumi Naidoo from Greenpeace and Camilla Toulmin from IIED who were given a standing ovation by the foundation audience.”

Kalle: “I found it interesting to see how seriously important foundations around the world are taking the ethical aspects of their portfolio. There are also ongoing campaigns the aim of which is to influence big foundations so that they would divest from corporations in the fossil fuel business. Another important theme discussed in the conference was how foundations support social enterprises that do not necessarily maximize the profits for shareholders.

When European (and US-based) foundations meet, ”traditional” philanthropic phenomena may attract the attention of a Nordic participant: foundations can fund social equality by giving money directly to the poor. This has not been common in the Nordic countries, where the welfare state has taken care of the matter. In this conference, however, it was interesting to see some more modern forms of the philanthropic tradition: certain major European foundations have joined forces to support unaccompanied minors arriving in Europe, from emergency measures to long-term welfare. At the same time the Finnish welfare state focuses on keeping such refugees from even accidentally crossing the Finnish border.”


Kone Foundation has been a member of the European Foundation Centre (EFC) since 2014. It is an international umbrella organisation for foundations and corporate funders.